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Expert Review

Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV (2021 - ) Electric review

A compact SUV with full electric power and seven seats for all the family, the Mercedes EQB is expensive to buy but feels suitably high quality

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

4

Essentially an electrified version of the excellent Mercedes GLB, the EQB offers a satisfying blend of luxury and practicality and is currently among the few electric options for families needing an extra row of seats. That alone may be a reason to buy but it’s also luxurious, packed with tech and decent to drive as well, not to mention a lot more versatile than the related (but smaller) EQA. This doesn’t come cheap, though, and the range isn’t brilliant compared with others you may be considering.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickLooks good
  • tickSeven seats
  • tickFeels well-built

At a glance:

Running costs for a Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

If you are reliant on the more expensive public network Mercedes offers a helping hand with subscriptions to popular networks
The EQB is way more expensive than the petrol or diesel powered GLB on which it is based, though of course you’ll claw back some of that on running costs, be that on VED/road tax or through cheaper Benefit In Kind if you run it as a company car. Home charging will also slash those daily costs if you are lucky enough to have an off-street space to install your own plug point but even if you are reliant on the more expensive public network Mercedes offers a helping hand with subscriptions to popular networks like BP Pulse and Ionity to make fast charging on longer runs much more affordable. While these are really introductory offers to get you moving the three-year Mercedes me Charge subscription is free for the first three years and consolidates your remote charging across a range of providers into a single card and account for maximum convenience.
Expert rating: 3/5

Reliability of a Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

Generally we’d say electric cars look a little more dependable than their internal combustion equivalents
Like many premium brands the cost of repairs when things do go wrong reflects badly in Mercedes’ ranking on popular reliability tables. Generally we’d say electric cars look a little more dependable than their internal combustion equivalents because there is less mechanically to go wrong but, against that, they rely on complicated tech so we’ll have to see how that plays out over time. The standard three-year/unlimited mileage warranty (eight years and 100,000 miles on the battery) is nothing special, especially when you consider the five or even seven years offered by brands like Hyundai and Kia.
Expert rating: 3/5

Safety for a Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

An optional Driver Assistance package costs a chunk more but adds another level of support
Mercedes has a long tradition of building safe cars and there’s every confidence the EQB will live up to that. On top of all the expected airbags and other safety features there are the usual driver aids like automatic emergency braking, ‘active’ speed limit control and interventions at the wheel if it thinks you’re drifting out of your lane. These are, thankfully, much less intrusive than similar systems we’ve experienced in rivals. An optional Driver Assistance Package costs a chunk more but adds another level of support, with radar-monitored cruise control, blind spot monitors with warnings if you’re about to open the door into traffic and more besides.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

The third row is only really suitable for children but it’s a welcome convenience feature
We drove the EQB fresh from testing EV alternatives like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Audi Q4 E-Tron and the Mercedes was noticeably smoother and more comfortable at all speeds. It’s also very refined, which plays to the strengths of the silent electric power and makes it a very relaxing vehicle to drive. Mercedes is also traditionally strong on comfort and ergonomics and, sure enough, driver and front seat passenger are well catered for here. The real selling point for the EQB is the fact it comes as standard as a seven-seater, though our German market test car wasn’t actually equipped with the third row that UK buyers get as standard, so we’ll have to hold judgement on this until we try one. Assuming it’s comparable with the arrangement in the GLB on which this car is based we’d say the third row is only really suitable for children and severely limits boot space when in use, but it’s a welcome convenience feature that larger families will welcome. The boxy shape and flat floor also make the middle row feel spacious, and you can slide this back and forth to increase legroom or boot space as required.
Expert rating: 5/5

Features of the Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

Ambient lighting in as many 64 colours reliably keeps the kids entertained
All versions of the EQB come with Mercedes’ nifty, widescreen effect digital cockpit, with paired electronic displays for both instruments and central infotainment system. This is underpinned by the MBUX operating system, the slick graphics and logical menus making it easy to navigate. Easier, perhaps, for left-handed drivers given the convenient turn and push wheel of old is now a fiddly touchpad but there are other options, including ‘Hey, Mercedes!’ voice activation and neat touch-sensitive thumbpads on the steering wheel. Ambient lighting in as many 64 colours reliably keeps the kids entertained, the whole interior looks super-stylish and well-built while the fully connected (a three-year subscription is included) hard disk navigation system has been fully optimised for the EQB and can add charging stops to your route. It’s also tied into the Eco Assist system, meaning it can anticipate corners, gradients and speed limit changes and use them as opportunities for recuperation to top up the battery. You can pair your phone and use your apps if you prefer, wireless charging and an upgraded stereo system among the additional kit on the higher of the two trim levels.
Expert rating: 5/5

Power for a Mercedes-Benz EQB SUV

The Mercedes it feels more than fast enough given its family SUV role
There are two power options for the EQB, both currently using the same 66kWh battery, with a longer range version promised in due course. The most powerful of the two has 292 horsepower, which is about the same as the equivalent Quattro versions of the Audi Q4 E-Tron but lags behind the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Jaguar I-Pace and the inevitable Tesla alternatives. To be fair to the Mercedes it feels more than fast enough given its family SUV role and a good deal more responsive than the Q4. Power is delivered with typical electric car smoothness and both versions have an extra motor at the front for what amounts to four-wheel drive when you need it. Paddles behind the wheel let you take control of regen if you prefer a stronger effect in traffic or ‘sailing’ mode for the motorway, though none of the modes bring you to a complete halt for true ‘one pedal’ driving. The relatively small battery also means range doesn’t look too generous, the quoted 250+ miles dropping to more like 150 in the cold weather we were driving in while the promised miles per kWh efficiency was also some way off Mercedes’ claims. Suffice to say, if range and performance are priorities there are better choices around.
Expert rating: 3/5

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